Observations of a geek.

The joys of OpenSuSE 11.4 on a Dell Latitude, and a Docking Station

I've been running SuSE for 12 years. So, when I got my standard issue Dell Latitude E64xx I installed OpenSuSE 11.4. It runs great except when it's time to plug or unplug it from the docking station in my office. Then it's a pain because of the display switching issues.

Listing the unique IP addresses from a Web log

I want a list of the unique IP addresses for the machines that have requested pages from a specific directory of a Web application.

// pull out the requests for just this directory
grep DIRECTORY/request_log > DIRECTORY/request_log

// remove all hits to non-pages (e.g., graphics, CSS, JS, etc)
cat DIRECTORY/request_log | grep -v "\.gif" | grep -v "\.js" | grep -v "\.jpg" | grep -v "\.css" > DIRECTORY/page_hit_log

// pull out the IPs, sort them file and remove duplicates

Think before you meet

Years ago I began working as a system administrator, then programmer. In 2000 I worked remotely 90% of the time. From my home office I could do almost everything I needed to do, but it was in this situation that I began to struggle with intense frustration related to interruptions. I began analyzing my situation and discovered that each interruption (e.g., phone call, meeting, pop-in) took me at least 20 minutes to recover from. That is, if I could ever return to the previous task that day.

New project: drupalauth

I've written an authentication module (drupalauth) for simpleSAMLphp that will authenticate users against a local Drupal site. Drupalauth makes it fairly simple for a small organization to bring up a SAML 2.0 identity provider (IdP). Using Drupal, simpleSAMLphp, and drupalauth it is possible to be up and running in less than an hour.

I'm maintaining a Drupal module (simplesamlphp_auth)

Over the past several months I've been working with various SAML technologies. Since we have a good size group of folks running Drupal I've been using SimpleSAMLphp, a solid PHP-based implementation of SAML.


A persona can be defined as a social role, a mask that a person presents to the world. In a federated identity environment should a person be allowed to have multiple personas or just one?

Personae Everywhere

Steve the Christian. Steve the son. Steve the brother. Steve the husband. Steve the father. Steve the Software Architect. Steve the martial artist. Steve the missionary. In the real world we have many different facets, personae if you will.

Understand the values that must be preserved

As I reflected on a series of meetings I attended recently a principle seemed to synthesize in my mind. After meeting with senior leaders of a couple of international organizations I was impressed by the importance of understanding, articulating, and coming to consensus on the critical values that must be preserved if the partnership is to be successful.